Foraging plants in the norwegian mountains – 18. Bog bilberry Pt.2

The lake about 100metres above the rented cottage.

I just can’t resist showing you how beautiful Norway is, with loads of clean water and little pollution. I hope that this will always be the case even though we feel global warming making its presence known here.

Planning The Vaccinium uliginosum artwork

The overall blue-ey nature of many bog bilberry plants

Obviously my knowledge of the Bog bilberry was one good reason to include it in this series of paintings on vellum, but its similarity to another plant in the series was another good reason. 

In the previous blog of the series, no. 17, I showed a picture of this species in a typical habitat with Bilberry, Mountain Crowberry and Cloudberry, one can see how different the Bilberry and Bog Bilberry is – at least in the autumn.

The picture here taken in August shows the overall blue-ey nature of the species when a lot of plants are together. By this time the red edge to the leaves has all but disappeared except for on new growth.

I started the sketch page in July 2017 although I had done the odd sketch before this. As with my other species I collected as much information as I could.

Researching the plant before actually drawing is important. I was able to get hold of a series of books called Norges Flora by Knut Fægri. The books are quite old but the description of habitat, scientific information and names still holds true. In fact these books gave me more information than I found anywhere else – unless I went into scholarly works!

The information in these books also told me what to look for – so much so that I really had to concentrate on the aim of the series rather than delving deeper. I have a tendency to want to do this and I am frequently at risk of doing too much: My vellum blocks would definitely not have been large enough. I just wish I had been able to own the books, but they were a loan from the library in Eggedal, a village on the way up to the cottage.

Once I felt I had enough sketches to work from I arranged the most important ones into a composition I was happy with. To the left is the Bog blueberry tracing on the Lightbox with the samples I had already done.

By the time I got to the artwork on vellum, I needed branches and fruit to paint from. Luckily enough we found an area about an hour from where we now live, therefore it wasn’t too bad to get there and back if I needed anything. But best of all, it was also a very good area for finding plenty of Lingonberries; Christmas dinner was now sorted!

The final painting on vellum was started  in September 2021 and except for the scalebars, was finished in December 2021.

Although I am attaching a slideshow of the final work process, I know that many have issues with the bloom on fruit. So here a few photos so that you can have time to study my process if you want to.

The native range of this species is Subarctic & Temp. Northern Hemisphere including both Great Britain and Norway. It is a subshrub or shrub and grows primarily in the subalpine or subarctic biome. 

Kew – Plants of the World Online o

Bog bilberry muffins Recipe

Makes 12

2 medium eggs
150 ml sugar
250 ml plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp vanilla sugar
1 tsp cardamom seeds (from about 20 pods), ground
150 ml sour cream or plain yogurt
50 grams butter, melted & cooled
200-300 ml bog bilberries (or bilberries or blueberries)

Whisk eggs with sugar until pale and frothy.
Mix the dry ingredients. Add to the egg mixture together with sour cream and melted butter. Fold in the Bilberries.
Fill 12 hole muffin tray and bake at 225 C for 13-15 minutes, until muffins have risen and turned golden brown.

The next blog post about the Mountain crowberry will be published on 21st May 2023.

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